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Our Spiritual Faculties

Our Spiritual Faculties

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY ELWOOD WORCESTER

As many as are led by the Spirit of God they are the sons of
God. Romans 8:14.
BY ELWOOD WORCESTER

As many as are led by the Spirit of God they are the sons of
God. Romans 8:14.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Dec 06, 2013
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OUR SPIRITUAL FACULTIES BY ELWOOD WORCESTER

As many as are led by the Spirit of God they are the sons of God. Romans 8:14.

We are living today in an age of revelation. That which former generations of men looked forward to we are enjoying. God, who in former ages seemed so far off, in these last days has drawn very near. God, who for ages appeared to hide His face and who seemed to have made all His revelations in the past, is again showing us His face and is making new revelations. As has happened so often in the past, the truth that we feared has set us free, and far from destroying faith and the spiritual life it has only deepened them. When we began to learn that God works through law we feared that this would limit His freedom

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and His almightiness; when the idea began to dawn on us that the universe is a vast celestial mechanism, there seemed in it no longer a place for God's Spirit; but as soon as we began to comprehend the nature of those laws we perceived their beneficence and utility; and though they will not adapt themselves to man, man can adapt himself to them, and by so doing he can greatly increase his power and eflBciency. They do exactly and on a grand scale what the laws of every civilized land do imperfectly and on a small scale; while taking away man's license and willfulness they give him liberty which he cannot enjoy without law — liberty not to break the law but to employ it and seek its protection.

And God's laws, far from limiting Him,
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are the very basis on which His eternal truth rests and the means by which He

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acts. They are inflexible because to a perfect Being there is but one perfect way. The physical universe may be a machine; so is our body also a machine, but a machine that is animated and upheld by an indwelling soul, and only so long as there is a soul in it does it hold together at all. As we reveal ourselves through our bodies, so God reveals Himself through the universe. As Spirit speaks to Spirit through many an instrumentality, so God speaks to us. Yet let us remember that in God's revelation there is a higher and a lower, — there is all the difiference in the world between God's presence in a worm and His
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presence in a godlike man.

The animals have their share of God's Spirit too in their wise and mysterious instincts. The animal, uncorrupted by man, has no vices and he never commits suicide;

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he does not whine and complain, he does not flatter another, and he never voluntarily torments himself. Moreover the animal has unquestioning faith, he trusts his own spiritual powers and uses them unerringly; though he cannot understand the source of his wise instincts, he obeys them and thereby preserves his life; he eats when he is hungry, and unless his habits are nocturnal he sleeps during the hours of darkness. He does not worry nor mourn
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over the past, nor suffer from insomnia, nor use tobacco, nor drink alcohol. He has no physician to advise him what to eat or to prescribe for him when he is ill, but his own instincts tell him what to eat and what medicines to take. The healing power of nature works more freely and powerfully in him than it does in us; he has methods of inhibiting pain which we have

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lost, and when wounded or injured he finds rehef and healing in sleep. He possesses spiritual faculties and is confronted by a spiritual power which he does not understand, but which he trusts without question. We too are confronted by the same power which reveals itself to us more personally and overwhelmingly. \Miy do we not yield
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ourselves to it more entirely? We possess spiritual faculties infinitely superior to the faculties of the animal, but the strange peculiarity of man is that he does not trust his spiritual faculties. He does not follow them and seek to understand them and give himself up to them. He often ignores and resists them and lives an unspiritual life in defiance of them, and then he wonders that he is weak, ailing, despondent and miserable when he has cast aside the very thing that would make him strong and happy.

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For when man returns to the Ufe of an animal he IS not a good animal nor a wise animal. The normal animal trusts God and his spiritual faculties, but the animal man distrusts God and makes no use of his
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spiritual faculties. How then can he be happy .^

God, we may be sure, created us for a purpose. He has a work to do in us and a work to do through each of us which through no one else can be done so well. If it were not for this we may be sure He would not take the trouble to make no two persons alike. God thinks no thought in vain and does not repeat Himself. He thinks no two thoughts alike and He creates no two souls alike. He thought us for a purpose and He reveals to us the purpose for which He made us early in life by many slight but significant hints and intimations,

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by the things we love and admire, the things
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which interest us and which we feel drawn to attempt. Among the innumerable thoughts which pass through our minds, some day there comes a thought of everlasting importance because it gives bent and direction to all our future thoughts and efforts. To all men who accomplish anything in the world the revelation comes of what they are to be and to become. At first this is only a thought in the mind of God revealed to us very imperfectly and dimly; our achievement as yet is nought, the future all unknown. Our minds are dark, our powers feeble, our strength apparently is utterly inadequate to the task; but we have seen something; we feel ourselves drawn in a certain definite direction. There is something stirring within us which was not there before; we have caught a glimpse

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of ourselves in a new light, not as we are at present in our ignorance and darkness, clad in all our mortal weakness, but as we feel it possible for us to become. A goal is set up in our existence which we cannot see clearly and which, because of its glory, we hardly dare to contemplate steadfastly; which converts our life from a poor, weak, fluctuating, purposeless thing into a mighty purpose, a determinate aim. Just so far as we yield to this purpose our life becomes powerful and successful, and just so far as we are false to it we fail. The higher this purpose is, the more unselfish it is, the more difficult of accomplishment, the more it bestows on us, the clearer our vision, the greater our strength, the more adamantine our will, the deeper our peace. Only goodness can work this miracle. Evil knows no spell that can unite all our forces and compel

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them to work willingly and harmoniously together for the accomplishment of one purpose. Evil may overcome us, but unless it kill us it cannot subdue our whole souL The effect of such a unified life as this is to exalt and immensely to strengthen all our powers. We speak of a man so devoted as consecrated, that is altogether holy, and the description does not greatly exceed the reality. There is an immense advantage in living for one thing, especially if it be an ideal which we can never wholly realize, yet which every day we can do something toward realizing. By constantly being our best we constantly grow better — this is God's great reward — and the more such a task satisfies our whole nature and the more it furnishes employment to our higher faculties, the more we accomplish
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through it and the more it accomplishes in

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us. In fact I do not believe there is any other way to health and contentment and a happy life than through some task that we love and some work that we believe in. The harmonious action of all our powers does us nothing but good; mind and body together become one perfect instrument which can do an incredible amount of w^ork. Good work which requires the smooth and frictionless operation of our faculties does us no harm, but, on the other hand, how quickly men's powers fail when the sustaining purpose of life is withdrawn and the work is finished or abandoned. And when the parts of the machine begin to make war on one another it must stop or
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break. Progressive, constructive thought is strengthening and stimulating to man; worry and helpless anxiety go round and round like a blind horse in a treadmill and

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end where they began. If you would escape the one you must have the other. A steady purpose set always in one direction can break down all opposition and accomplish anything, and a man who has no purpose is not a man but a mollusc. He who is always changing his purpose, taking up tasks and laying them down, accomplishes little, and he will look back at last to a broken and fragmentary life. The mightiest engine in the world is the human will. It can accomplish anything if it is steadfastly set in one direction. If a man desires
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wealth it will make him rich: if he desires learning it will make him learned: if he desires love it will draw love to him: if he wishes to serve men it will give him the opportunity of service for which he is best fitted, provided always he works with God's laws, not against them.

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To accomplish such a task and to do the work God intended us to do we need only steadfastness and faith in God and in our own spiritual powers. They may be little now, they may be as inadequate to the task we have set ourselves as were the five barley loaves and the few small fishes to the feeding of the multitude, but if we trust them and use them they will grow. If we do today's work well we shall have
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just that much more strength tomorrow. If we perform this task faithfully who shall say what our next task shall be? A characteristic of all great men is that without exception they began by doing small things well, and when the great things came their way they did them well too. Think of Abraham Lincoln, and of the marvelous development of Plato during the fourteen years which followed Socrates' death. It

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is said that the celebrated athlete of antiquity, Milo of Crotona, once made a wager that he could lift a bull, but he did not begin by trying to lift a bull. He bought a calf and lifted that and he went on lifting it every day, and every day the calf v/as a little heavier and Milo was a little stronger,
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and no day came in which Milo could not lift him. So by bearing small burdens patiently we prepare ourselves to bear larger ones. Seeing that we succeed in the ordering of our own affairs and lives, men begin to trust us with the ordering of their affairs and lives. To the onlooker this development often seems miraculous; to the man who is doing the task it is the most natural thing in the world. When God gives a man a task. He gives him strength and opportunity to do it. The

initial hardships and difficulties are sent to 153

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teach him faith and the necessity of casting himself wholly upon God. Having learned this lesson he goes on his way rejoicing. Barriers fall; insurmountable obstacles melt
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away as he approaches them or he finds a way through them. As the burden grows heavier his strength grows greater, and as he goes on his way he is attended by his former victories as by a cohort of angels.

Infinitely the most important, the most beautiful, the most touching element of our lives is the relation to their unseen Spirit of God. The soul has two doors, one open to all the world, through which every profane foot enters, the other open only to God, over whose threshold no foot but His has ever passed. But how often He has entered in joy, in sorrow, in death, in loneliness. How His presence has haunted us

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as something from which even in our lightest moments we were never wholly free. How often have we returned to the house of our soul to find Him there. How often He has left us apparently forever and yet He has returned. How often we have driven His Spirit from us by our sin and yet He has found us in our sin. It is in this presence that our noblest, truest life has been led, and without it the deepest, the most romantic part of our existence would not have been.

And I tell you now that you cannot escape from Him. Flee from Him ever so far and He will overtake you. Hide from Him ever so deep and He will find you. His patience is greater than your patience. His love is stronger than your love. You think that you have worn Him out and that you will see Him and hear Him no more;

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and lo, you find that He has worn you out, and you rejoice to feel again His presence within you and to hear Him audibly speaking to you. Can you escape Him? TVTiat are a few years to Him who has eternity at His disposal? What is your feeble opposition to Him who holds the world in the hollow of His hand? If God did not want you, He would not have made you. If He did not want you otherwise than you are He would not make you dissatisfied with yourself as you are. If He did not intend to satisfy the desire of your heart to behold His face He would not have implanted it in you. But if He wants you and He calls you, you must rise up and follow. "As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." Who can escape the following, following, following love of God?
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"I fled Him down the nights and down the days. I fled Him down the arches of the years. I fled Him down the labyrinthine ways Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears I hid from Him and under running laughter. Up vista'd hopes I sped And shot precipitated Adown titanic glooms of shadowed fears From those strong feet that followed, followed after. But with unhurrying chase And unperturbed pace. Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,] They beat, and a Voice beat More instant than the feet: All things betray thee who betrayest Me. Halts by me that footfall? Is my gloom after all
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Shade of His hand outstretched caressingly? Ah fondest, blindest, weakest, I am He whom thou seekest. Thou dravest love from thee who dravest me."

Francis Thompson.

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